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DESIGN: Times Square's "Urban Forest"
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Unveiled on August 17, New York is hosting "Design Times Square: The Urban Forest Project," a collection of banners created by more than 175 artists and designers from around the world. Based on a "trees" theme, the banners are on display on lampposts throughout Times Square till the end of October. The project was organized by the New York Chapter of the AIGA, the Times Square Alliance and Worldstudio Foundation (www.worldstudio.org), a nonprofit devoted to encouraging social responsibility in the design and arts professions. "Never before have so many artists and designers come together to create such a large-scale public art project," says Worldstudio principal Mark Randall, who conceived the project. "We developed a theme that presented the designers with two opposing concepts — a forest of trees placed in the middle of one of the most exciting and chaotic man-made spaces on earth. The variety of work is beyond what we imagined." Banner artists include luminaries like Massimo Vignelli and Paula Scher as well as 18 students from Manhattan's High School of Art & Design who are part of an AIGA mentoring program. Indeed, the banners will eventually be recycled into tote bags to be sold at auction, the proceeds going to scholarships and mentoring programs that benefit students of the visual arts. Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, says of the "Forest," "We see this as an even more urban 'Gates' project." Well, it's certainly a whole lot more colorful than Christo's Central Park curtains. We open with a banner by Zona Design's Zoa Martinez, www.zonadesign.com. See the PDF for "live" designs by AdamsMorioka (www.adamsmorioka.com), John Pirman (www.theispot.com/artist/pirman) and James Victore (www.jamesvictore.com), and see www.urbanforestproject.org and www.timessquarenyc.org for more.